New York food establishments push for financial relief

New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the summer season and warmer temperatures start to wind down, the woes for food establishments continue. 

“The restaurant business is a tough business to begin with. Profit margins are very small in the industry, typically a three to five percent profit margin is what your typical restaurant is operating on,” said Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of New York State Restaurant Association.

And, due to the coronavirus, turning a profit has been made even tougher. The New York State Restaurant Association conducted a study with 1,042 food establishments across the state, including restaurants, bars, and caterers. More than 63 percent of those who participated said their business is “likely or somewhat likely to close by the end of the year without some form of financial relief.”

“At the federal level, I would definitely say it’s either a dedicated restaurant fund or an additional grant program where they can get grant money. Loan programs with interest isn’t really a great idea for our industry; we’re just not in the foreseeable future going to be able to pay those back,” said Fleischut. 

She also says capacity limits continue to be a challenge. In New York City, indoor dining is still prohibited, and it’s only allowed at 50 percent capacity throughout the rest of the state.  Another issue is rent. 

“Commercial rent continues to be a huge issue. People just aren’t able to pay their rent and just pushing it off isn’t a real solution because eventually those payments are going to become due,” Fleischut said. 

Restaurants also have to face consumer attitudes. A recent Siena College Research Institute poll of 745 New Yorkers found the majority of those who participated still do not feel comfortable dining indoors at a restaurant. 

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